Second, the winner-takes-all dynamics of social on the desktop web
do not appear to apply on mobile, and if there are
winner-takes-all dynamics for mobile social it’s not yet clear
what they are. There are four main aspects to this:
- Smartphone apps can access your address book, bypassing the need
to rebuild your social graph on a new service
- They can access your photo library, where uploading photos to
different websites is a pain
- They can use push notifications instead of relying on emails and
on people bothering to check multiple websites
- Crucially, they all get an icon on the home screen.
Any smartphone app is just two taps away - a desktop site can
crush a new competitor by adding it as a feature with a new
menubar icon but on mobile there isn’t room to do that. Mobile
tends to favor single-purpose, specialized apps.
On the second point, it’s not just that mobile apps have access to your photo library, it’s also that the device is the user’s camera. That enables mobile apps not just access to photos you have already taken, but also to photos you are taking right now, in the moment. In the pre-mobile world, you did stuff with photos hours or even days after you took them. Today, you do stuff with them moments after taking them.
★ Thursday, 20 February 2014